Progress has been good the last week, the current batch of embryos are growing at the expected rate and at the current time, only 5% have become terminal or non-viable. In a few more weeks they will be large enough to start the gene scans on them to make sure the modified DNA sequences are replicating as possible. I do not want to be overly optimistic, the last two rounds of embryos have started initially well but all started crashing around the one month mark. But this time, I can't help but hold my breath. The mitosis is progressing at an impressive rate, and the babies, oh I cannot wait to hold one of my new babies.
Excerpt from Dr. Ermingarde's personal journal.
The Form of the Behemoth
The Jarnasacksy are an artificial race of 'monsters' created by the Arasaard Project. Based out of the Valaskjalf Arcology in Scandinavia, the Arasaard Project has been working for years to decipher and apply a series of samples obtained from a meteor crater in Antarctica. Starting with lion DNA, Doctor Ermingarde created a chimera strain. The Antarctic samples and the lab synthetic intelligence combined and recombined the DNA with other animal strains. The lion strain was blended with bear, bull, and a dozen other species. The final product was a massive quadruped predator. The body is large, densely muscled, with powerful fore and hind limbs. The jarnasascksy are capable of walking on two legs for prolonged periods, but prefer to walk on all four limbs. They do not have thumbs or manipulative hands, but they are capable of intelligent problem solving.
Located in the northern hinterlands of Scandinavia, Valaskjalf has more in common with colonies on Europa or Ganymede than it does with those on Earth. It is designed to operate for years without outside assistance, except for data and rare special deliveries. The structure is entirely enclosed, including dome sections and a large sealed in geofront. This was done both for efficiency of the recycling systems, and to ensure that anything created inside the research center wouldn't be accidentally released into the outside world. The security measures at Valaskjalf are on par with a doublemax prison.
The facility consists of a central arcology tower, and has eight 'sectors' that spread out from it's base. Each sector is enclosed, and covered with a dome segment. The sectors have a large amount of internal space, and aside from orientation, are functionally a Stanford Torus built around the central spire. The geofront under the structure is slightly smaller than the sector perimeter, but extended for several hundred feet underground and houses the water recycling plant, hydroponics bays, and other municipal and utility systems.
Sector eight remains incomplete and construction has for the time being, ceased.
Chimeras are feasible through genetic manipulation, but their development and application has been slow to non-existent as most research groups or backers have little interest in creating new animals when there is a much larger market for restoring lost species, human cloning and human genetics, or the fact that chimera creation is considered a 'backwards' and pointless exercise. Previous attempts at creating chimeras, homunculi, or ghola resulted in gross failure, charges of crimes against nature and humanity, or biological contamination that was on par with low level Dimensional Fatigue events.
Dr. Meredith Ermingarde
A willowy brunette 'Menton', Dr. Ermingarde is as intelligent as she is awkward around people. The Doctor remains a pre-eminent bio-geneticist and is well regarded for her work in restoring lost species even from fragmentary DNA.
In addition to being a genetically engineered genius with a focus in genetics, Ermingarde was a latent parapsychic. She lacks the trigger to erupt full potential, but retains a basic ability to communicate with animals. This lead her to be more empathic towards her modifications and creations, and also lead her into the mire of chimera creation. She bonded with her creations, which in turn gave her greater insights into her next generation of artificial offspring. Where many scientists aspire to break out success, wealth, the accolades of their peers, or breaking the borders of what is known, Dr. Ermingarde would much prefer to live a life as free and violent as that of her creations.
The Arasaard Initiative
The Arasaard Initiative is part of the Kingdom of Scandinavia's black ops division and is centered around exploiting and developing arcanotech and hypertech for the protection and preservation of the Kingdoms from outside forces. This includes mostly friendly allies such as the voracious Atlantic Federation, to hostile invaders, be they from another nation, or another plane of existence. The Initiative brings together resources at hidden installations such as Valaskjalf to pool them and share information. One thing that separates Arasaard from other international black ops initiatives is that the Kingdoms have a common climate, and almost all of the technologies being developed are being done so with Winterization in mind.
Other projects include the KR-Soldat program, creating super soldiers, the Dynamo Atlas derivative Ymir program making cold weather titans, and a variety of hard techs like Norse mecha.
They are Winter itself, made flesh. You can see it in them. I don't mean their hide, or their hair, or their horns and claws. You can see it in their eyes, in their souls. It takes a special sort of person to work with them, because they're smart. Smart as a man, but they can't talk. That mouth is made only for killing or eating, not singing or talking. So the handlers, they have to be the sort who can touch souls with 'em.
My brother was one such, he was a pack master for them, a mediator of monsters. He had three that imprinted on him, he named them; Atla, Bestla, and Hrimnir. They were his family, more than we were. Those things, they accepted him completely, to them he was just a scrawny monster like them, but right smart. Bestla he would tell me, Bestla was the alpha, she was the big boss. I think he was too close to the thing, since he talked about it like most men would talk about their wives. He said that Atla one was like a puppy, young like. Hrimnir was a male, and the one that caused the most trouble. It was Hrimnir that eventually got my brother killed. Those Gardariki bastards tried to run some funny business across the ice, and he was part of the recon group sent to investigate.
Sniper dropped my brother, the beasts went nuts, I'm told.
Hrimnir broke cover, tipped off the sniper they were there. He was the only member of the pack that returned. The thing still lurks around here, he knows I'm kin, kin to his dead packmate. I don't know if he means to harm me, or if he's watching me. I've seen him a few times, those eyes, those damned eyes.
The Hyperborean Hounds
The winterlands of the extreme north are not kind to machinery. Hover bikes, and other mundane vehicles suffer from the cold, constant exposure to ice, and sometimes even the radiation from the aurora can throw off more sophisticated equipment. The Jarnasacksy were created as intelligent patrol animals to add to the protection of the borders. Most incursions into Kingdom territory involved small groups or saboteurs or elite soldiers, nothing as bold as armored vehicles. The chimera proved to be an unusual but effective tool to face this.
The senses of the jarnasacksy are sharp, especially scent. They can track prey for miles, and work effectively as a team to bring down even dangerous targets. With human level intelligence, they can set traps and ambushes, wage psychological warfare, and generally make terrors of themselves until they appear for the kill. Typically jarnasacksies are deployed in wolfpacks with one or two human handlers who have had extensive training and experience as a member of the chimera pack.
The packs are effective, and have proven themselves as a reliable, if exotic addition to the Kingdom military. They have a distinct weakness too. The weak link in the pack is the human handler, should a handler be disabled or killed, the pack has effectively lost it's leader. This can range from the pack retreating to scattering or going berzerk. The last is the most common response to a handler being killed. Survivors of decimated packs are typically left to stalk the tundra as Lone Wolves, and bereft of a pack, tend to actually grow larger, become more canny and almost always dramatically more dangerous.
They are innately parapsychic creatures. It is a latency that we cannot recreate in humans, but it allows them to communicate with each other, and it forms the bond between the human pack leaders and the jarnasackies themselves. Attempts have been made to create human chimeras on par with the jarnasacksies, but the resulting 'mongrel men' have been less than useless. The ones that are not crippled with mental and physical defects are profoundly violent and disturbed. A fair number have erupted parapsychic powers, unfortunately they are all but uncontrollable, and their manifestations range from pointless to strange to simply unexplainable.
The Jarnasacksy live across the inland and border zones of the Kindgom. Their handlers and support staff life in neo-primitive dwellings, far removed from the casual and creature comforts of the Cosmic Era. They retain advanced weapons and gear, but in many ways live much like their ancestors did hundreds of years before. A single pack can range across dozens of miles a day, over 100 should they choose to take a long hunt. It is not uncommon to see a hunter team composed of three to five chimeras, two or three Ymir Titan supersoldiers, and a handler.
I thought they smelled bad on the outside!
a Jarnasacksy loner can make an interesting addition to a cold weather party. Unless there is a mental parapsychic in the party, the creature can only communicate in grunts, growls, and glares, but otherwise is a smart hunter, well versed in the local terrain, and accustomed to cold weather. They are large enough to use as mounts for heroic fighting.
Bad Moon Rising
The PCs have become the target of a jarnasacksy hunting pack. They have to find a way to survive attacks by chimera behemoths, parapsychic handlers, and often being sniped at while they are being stalked by apex predators. It's not bad enough they have to deal with the cold, now even the wildlife wants to kill them.
A jarnasacksy can be used as a highly exotic PC. They are intelligent, limited communication, and are still very much predators.